Dengue Redux: The Hits Just Keep on Happening


As if Dengue Fever isn’t bizarre enough, my doctor here in Wellington turned it up a notch today. My full test results came back from the lab and she called for a discussion.

I had already heard most of the results, so there were no big surprises until …

“And in addition to the Dengue that’s in your system now,
it looks like you’ve had it before.”

BACK THE TRAIN UP! It appears that I’ve had Dengue Fever before! And why is this a big deal? Well, as it happens, if you’ve previously had one of the four types of Dengue, and you get another type, you are at much higher risk for Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. Not good, not good at all. I am soooo lucky that things are going as well as they are.

Terri and I have puzzled over this. We’ve decided that I must have had Dengue Fever when I was working as a geophysicist monitoring a seismic crew in the jungles of northern Belize. In that episode, I had a sudden-onset round of fever, and nausea, with what has become the now familiar tropical disease symptoms. At the time, we thought it was food or water related, but looking back, we now think it was Dengue.

Now the photo explanation. After getting medical advice from family and friends, I know that a low white blood count means a compromised immune system, and a plane becomes a petri dish with wings. I will be flying in a few days and will wear ONE of these masks. We’ll see.

Happy Trails,



We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

2 thoughts

  1. my first tests came back ‘negativo -negativo’ and i said, ‘what? if that wasn’t dengue that i had fifteen years ago, and dengue is worse than that, i don’t ever want to get dengue fever!’ the next week the doc saw a spike in one blood count and ordered another dengue test, which said, ‘positivo/positivo.’.. then the doctor got very concerned…

    i was aware of the possible complications, so i had been very very good and on best behavior/staying hydrated, etc. it’s been an uphill journey to reclaim my health, but it’s so much better than a month ago.

    have a good weekend! i’ll be resting and mainly offline.


    1. Lisa, it’s amazing to me that a South American doctor would miss a case of dengue. You’d expect it to be one of the first things they look for. Oh well. I’m sure you have lots of help from family and friends and that’s a good thing. Because if my experience was any indicator, without Terri’s care I absolutely could not have done it on my own. Dengue is a physical and mental siege, and requires lots of energy from the patient and caregiver. I’ll be thinking of you, and wish you all the best in your recovery. Keep us posted. ~James

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